Sunday, January 23, 2011

Xmas Elf Mind Control

I was thinking about writing on this topic during the holiday season but I was too filled with the Christmas spirit.

(And if you believe that last statement, I have some real estate on the planet Krypton to sell to you.)

Apparently Santa by himself doesn't cut it with the kids anymore when parents try to keep their little bastards in line. Thus this product was created:

Year after year, children and adults alike are baffled by the mystery of how Santa really knows who’s been naughty or nice. After much urging by the elves and Mrs. Claus, Santa has allowed his biggest secret to be revealed in The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. Touted as “The best thing since The Night Before Christmas” this gift set includes a light skin, blue eyed North Pole pixie-elf, hardbound children’s book and keepsake box. Children can register their elf online and receive a special response from Santa.

That's the manufacturer's statement which can be found at . This book-doll combo is fiendishly clever. The book explains that Santa employs his own Stasi sprites to keep an eye on children all over the world. The doll is one of these watchers. At night the elf comes to life and flies to the North Pole to dish the latest dirt to Santa.

According to a local newspaper article, the manipulative parents move the elf doll to various locations around the house when the kids are asleep, thus giving the impression that the elf came alive and made his report. I can imagine what the stuffed snitch is reporting back to Satan -- I mean Santa. Probably ratting out Little Johnny who has been peeing with the seat down or turning in Little Jane who has been sneaking into her parent's bedroom and sticking pins in those funny wrapped balloons she found in the nightstand shelf.

A family with three children was profiled in the article. The Big Brother elf worked so well that one kid was eating new foods he wouldn't touch before. Hey, kid, do you really like those Brussels sprouts? Wait until you're older and just the smell of them makes you puke because you forced yourself to eat them to score more Xmas loot.

A friend of the family also bought the book-doll combo and "found it to be an effective behavioral tool." Behaviorism, anyone?

To quote:

Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select -- doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. --John Watson, Behaviorism, 1930

The shelf elf also teaches young ones to rat out someone to the authorities, a brother telling on his sister to mom and dad. Let's stoke that sibling rivalry up a full notch. Let's also mold those impressionable minds to never question authority, to always do what is right, that is, "right" as defined by authority.

The doll also reinforces magical thinking: kids are told to talk to the elf to send along messages to Santa.

Wait until those kids grow up and find out that Santa -- and even God -- was all a big lie to keep them under control.


X. Dell said...

I remember seeing all these "public service" announcements, first on NBC (with stars of their television shows) and then elsewhere exhorting parents to spy on their children. The fact that that leaves no room for boundaries, or privacy is somehow compensated by the "fact" that the child might have some sort of drug or contraband. It sort of leaves the impression that authority doesn't have to respect your privacy, if it can claim to be working for your own good.

BTW, how much is real estate on Krypton going for these days?

Marvin the Martian said...

Points for using "Stasi" in a sentence. You get a cookie.

Doug said...

"A Visit From Saint Nicolas": the secret inspiration for "1984".

I think in a world of the internet, there's only so long kids could possibly believe anything. But this piece on Cracked does give making the Santa explanation more modern.

Like Santa wouldn't just have satellites...

Ray said...

X Dell:

The market is broken up for Krypton real estate. The prices are just floating all over in space.


What kind of cookie? Double fudge or double agent?


Satellites are too high tech for Santa. Anyway, magic is more efficient -- and intimidating.